Staying Motivated and Focused at the Gym

Unless you are a personal trainer, most people have arrived at the gym only to wander around either trying to decide where to start or what to do. Worse, gym goers often find themselves getting distracted from their work out and spend more time focused on things other than improving health and fitness. Of course, some days will be better than others, but use these strategies to come to the gym with a plan and minimize distractions.



“Failing to plan is planning to fail” – Alan Lakein

First and foremost, know what you are going to do before you get there. What is the intention of the workout? If the purpose is weight training, will the focus be on muscles groups or targeting a full body workout? How will you warm up? What stretches do you need to incorporate? If these are questions you have no idea how to answer, hiring a personal trainer for a few months will help you understand what your body needs for better health and fitness. The trainer can develop a plan that makes sense for you. If this is not an option, there are some great phone apps to help come up with a workout plan as well. Fitness Buddy is a good app that has programs for beginners to experienced gym goers.



This goes along with pre-planning. Any person who has been to a gym knows that there are times when you must wait for equipment. Gym-etiquette says that someone using a piece of equipment should allow you to “work in” with them. This does not always work out, so you should know what other equipment in the gym will serve the same purpose. Again, this may be something worth hiring a personal trainer to educate you on alternatives. It is well worth it to know how to maximize your time, plus free weights can be much more effective than machines that you have to wait on. Here are just a few examples:

  • Leg press machine: use instead traditional back squat with a barbell or a dumbbell squat
  • Chest press machine: use instead bench press, push ups or TRX press
  • Calf machine (standing or seated): use instead the smith bar and a step - Calf Raises on the Smith Machine



It is so easy to get distracted at the gym, but focus on maximizing your time. It is easier to focus if you have a plan in mind and set a goal to finish the entire workout before leaving the gym.

Leave your phone in the locker. If you are using an app for your workout, put the phone on “Do not disturb.” This is your time, do not be bothered by outside distractions.

Know yourself, can you better focus on your workout while listening to music with earbuds or is it distracting? Be honest!

If your cardio equipment is so boring that you must read a book while doing it, find something else to do. Try an interval focused workout that takes you through high and low intensity levels.

Try a cardio class or do a circuit training workout utilizing calisthenics